PJT Report: Crewe Alexandra (2) 0-0 (1) Leeds United U21

Whites exit the Papa John's Trophy.

SONNY 1.jpg

Papa John’s Trophy

Crewe Alexandra 0 (2)

Leeds United U21 0 (1)

Crewe win on penalties.

Crewe: Richards (GK), Mellor, Adebisi, Griffiths, Finney (Agyei 60’), Brook (Lunt 71’), Leshabela, Sambou, Sass-Davies, Finney, Holicek (Uwakwe 54’). Subs not used: Okonkwo (GK), Thomas, King, Billington.

Leeds: Christy (GK), Drameh, Hjelde, Moore (Spencer 62’), Firpo, Klich, Gyabi, Gnonto (Allen 62’), Gelhardt (Snowdon 62’), Perkins, Joseph. Subs not used: Ombang (GK), Miller, McGurk, Debayo.

Venue: Mornflake Stadium

Attendance: 1,236 (582 away)

Referee: B. Toner

Booked: Griffiths (Crewe)

Leeds United’s Under-21s exited the Papa John’s Trophy in the group stages, after drawing away at Crewe Alexandra and then losing the subsequent penalty shoot-out against their hosts, at the Mornflake Stadium.

Coming into the match, Michael Skubala knew his side would progress into the Papa John’s Trophy knock-out stages with a win - whilst also knowing a score-draw and subsequent win on penalties could be enough to overcome second placed Tranmere.

When this Northern Group B clash got underway, the first half was without incident for the first 20 minutes or so. A slow start to the match was mainly influenced by the home side keeping players behind the ball.

Despite plenty of possession and pushing players forward, the Whites couldn’t muster up any major openings. Set-play opportunities arrived and soon went, as the hosts cleared the danger when it was presented to them.

The first effort on goal came from the returning Leo Hjelde. Playing in central defence, he was up for a corner and flicked a header just wide of the post. Shortly after, good feet from Sonny Perkins saw him break into the box and force Dave Richards into a good save at his near post.

Richards was called into action again moments later, as Leeds were now well on top and searching for an opener which could take them through into the knock-out stages.

It was Darko Gyabi who struck this time, superbly curling towards the top corner, but he saw the ‘keeper tip his strike onto the bar and then behind.

Perkins and Gyabi had further efforts before the interval but neither caused any real danger. The whistle sounded for the break shortly after meaning the teams went in level, with the game in the balance for the second period.

HALF TIME: Crewe Alexandra 0-0 Leeds United U21

Neither side made a change at the break as they came out searching for an opening goal in the second half, and there was no early change to the scoreline either.

Perkins had the best effort - when his shot was deflected, but saw Richards once again come out on top and make the save. The ‘keeper was alert again shortly after, stopping well from Junior Firpo’s long range strike.

A flurry of changes were then made on both sides around the hour mark. Charlie Allen, Joe Snowdon and Morten Spencer all entered the play as Skubala’s side continued to search for an opener.

Coming close and adding his name to the list of United players who had been denied by Richards in the Crewe net, Mateo Joseph worked an opening but had his shot saved. Moments later, fresh from the bench, Allen dragged an effort just wide of the post.

A number of missed chances later and good stops from the Crewe ‘keeper was enough for the class to end level, thus forcing a penalty shoot-out.

It would matter little to either side, as the goalless draw meant both teams were exiting the competition - the Whites going out on ‘goals scored’ against Tranmere, whilst Crewe had been knocked out before this game got underway.

The penalties saw the goalkeepers come out on top, as only three were converted, two for Crewe and just the one from five attempts for Leeds. The winning spot-kick was scored by Regan Griffiths for the home side, meaning they added the bonus point to the one claimed from the game itself.

FULL TIME: Crewe Alexandra (2) 0-0 (1) Leeds United U21

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